Assorted Links (9/15/2009)

Here’s a list of articles that I have been reading today (organized by topic):

Catastrophes

Boston Globe: “One year after Hurricane Ike tore across the gulf coast of Texas, residents paused on Sunday to observe the anniversary of the costliest natural disaster in Texas history. Destroying or damaging many thousands of houses, including 3/4 of all homes in Galveston, Ike’s 110 mph winds caused more than $29 billion in damage, and took the lives of at least 72 in the United States. In Galveston one year later, 75% of businesses have reopened, much of the debris has been cleared, and 95% of the population has returned, but much work still remains to be done as residents continue to rebuild and recover. Collected here are a series of before-and-after photographs – which (starting with the second one below) will fade between “before” and “after” when clicked. (13 photo pairs total)”

Economics

Donald Marron notes that the student loan crises of 2006–2007 and 2008 “…had the same root cause: the fact that the government, rather than market forces, determined how much lenders were paid for making guaranteed student loans. In both cases, the government got the payment levels wrong, and the crises followed soon thereafter.”

Financial Crisis

Wall Street Journal: “The lesson is that institutions that take trading risks must be allowed to fail.”

Game Theory

Foreign Policy

Wall Street Journal: “President Obama can’t outsource matters of war and peace to another state.”

Health Care Reform

Wall Street Journal: “In Britain in 2007-08, 16.5% of deaths came after ‘terminal sedation.’”